Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr is a Senior Journalist at ScienceAlert, where her deep love and curiosity for the cosmos has made the publication a world leader in reporting developments in space research. She is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years of experience in the science and technology sectors. Prior to joining the ScienceAlert team in 2017, she worked for seven years at CNET, where she created the role of Science Editor.Source
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Physicists Have Caught Electron Orbits in an Exciton Quasiparticle For The First Time

Physicists Have Caught Electron Orbits in an Exciton Quasiparticle For The First Time

There's been a fabulous new achievement in particle physics.For the first time, scientists have managed to image the orbits of electrons within a known as an exciton - a result that has allowed them to finally measure the excitonic wave function describing the spatial distribution of electron momentum within the quasiparticle. This achievement has been sought since the discovery of excitons in the 1930s, and while it may sound abstract at first, it could help in the development of various technologies, including quantum tech applications."Excitons are really unique and interesting...

Apr 22
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Scientists Have Described a Dinosaur's Butthole in Exquisite Detail

Scientists Have Described a Dinosaur's Butthole in Exquisite Detail

When a dog-sized Psittacosaurus was living out its days on Earth, it was probably concerned with mating, eating, and not being killed by other . It would never even have crossed its mind that, 120 million or so years later, scientists would be peering intensely up its clacker.However, that's precisely what they have done, yielding the most detailed description yet of a non-avian dinosaur's cloaca: the catch-all hole used for peeing, pooping, mating, and laying eggs.This Swiss Army knife of buttholes is common throughout the animal kingdom today - all birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even a...

Jan 20
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Scientists Translated Spiderwebs Into Music, And It's Beyond Stunning

Scientists Translated Spiderwebs Into Music, And It's Beyond Stunning

Spiders rely quite significantly on touch to sense the world around them. Their bodies and legs are covered in tiny hairs and slits that can distinguish between different kinds of vibrations. Prey blundering into a web makes a very different vibrational clamor from another spider coming a-wooing, or the stirring of a breeze, for example. Each strand of a web produces a different tone.A few years ago, scientists translated the three-dimensional structure of a spider's web into music, working with artist Tomás Saraceno to create an interactive musical instrument, titled . Now the team has...

Apr 16
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For The First Time, Scientists Have Detected X-Rays Coming Out of Uranus

For The First Time, Scientists Have Detected X-Rays Coming Out of Uranus

Every planet in the Solar System has its idiosyncrasies, but Uranus is, truly, one of a kind.Not only is it  so its rotational axis is practically parallel to its orbital plane, it , it's , its magnetic field is an utter mess, and it in the Solar System. But wait, there's more. Around 20 years ago, astronomers turned their instruments to capture X-ray emissions coming from Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Unlike every planet before it, Uranus had nary a flash to be seen.Now, for the first time, we've detected X-rays emanating from the Solar System's oddest ball, and it's not quite clear where...

Apr 3
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Particles of a Meteor Explosion From 430,000 Years Ago Found Hidden in Antarctic Ice

Particles of a Meteor Explosion From 430,000 Years Ago Found Hidden in Antarctic Ice

Approximately 430,000 years ago, a meteorite exploded over Antarctica.The only reason we know about it now is because scientists have just found tiny, once-molten particles of space rock that have been hidden away in the ice ever since. Based on an analysis of those particles, the event was an unusual one - not quite powerful enough to produce an impact crater, but nor was it a lightweight. The jet of melted and vaporized material that blasted from the mid-air explosion would have been more hazardous than the Tunguska event that .Although crater-producing impacts are fairly rare, rocks...

Apr 1
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Scientists Grew Tear Glands in a Dish, And Made Them Cry

Scientists Grew Tear Glands in a Dish, And Made Them Cry

Generally, it's not considered a very nice thing to make something cry, but new research doing just that could help people who can't.In a world first, scientists have grown tear glands from human in a dish, and induced them to produce tears - a significant achievement that could help develop therapies for tear gland disorders, and a step towards regenerative therapies, far into the future. "We hope that scientists will use our model to identify new treatment options for patients with tear-gland disorders by either testing new drugs on a patient's organoids or expanding healthy cells and,...

Mar 17
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Earth's Magnetic Field Flipped 42,000 Years Ago. The Consequences Were Dramatic

Earth's Magnetic Field Flipped 42,000 Years Ago. The Consequences Were Dramatic

A global period of upheaval 42,000 years ago was the result of a reversal in Earth's magnetic field, new research has found.According to radiocarbon preserved in ancient tree rings, several centuries' worth of climate breakdown, mass extinctions, and even changes in human behaviour can be directly linked to the last time Earth's magnetic field changed its polarity. The research team has named the period the Adams Transitional Geomagnetic Event, or Adams Event, after sci-fi writer Douglas Adams, who famously declared the number 42 the ultimate answer to life, the Universe, and...

Mar 10
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This Is a Piece of a Lost Protoplanet, And It's Officially Older Than Earth

This Is a Piece of a Lost Protoplanet, And It's Officially Older Than Earth

A chunk of meteorite found in the desert sands of Algeria could be a piece of a baby planet that never made it.According to an in-depth analysis of the rock's composition and age, not only is the meteorite known as Erg Chech 002 older than Earth, it formed volcanically - suggesting that it could have once been part of the crust of an object known as a protoplanet. As such, it represents a rare opportunity to study the early stages of planet formation, and learn more about the conditions in the earliest days of the Solar System, when the planets we know and love today were still forming.EC...

Mar 10
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For The First Time, A 'Space Hurricane' Has Been Detected Over The North Pole

For The First Time, A 'Space Hurricane' Has Been Detected Over The North Pole

For the first time, a hurricane has been detected in Earth's upper atmosphere. In 2014, satellites recorded a huge flowing swirl of plasma extending high into the magnetosphere that lasted for hours before dispersing. Although we've never seen anything like this before, its detection suggests that space hurricanes, as they are known, could be a common planetary phenomenon."Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible," of the University of Reading in the UK.Hurricanes in Earth's lower atmosphere are...

Mar 4
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The Genome of a Human From an Unknown Population Has Been Recovered From Cave Dirt

The Genome of a Human From an Unknown Population Has Been Recovered From Cave Dirt

A cup of mud that has been buried beneath the floor of a cave for millennia has just yielded up the genome of an ancient human.Analysis reveals traces of a woman who lived 25,000 years ago, during the last ice age; and, although we don't know much about her, she represents a significant scientific achievement: the feasibility of identifying ancient human populations even when there are no bones to recover. The sample also yielded DNA from wolf and bison species, which an international team of scientists were able to place in the context of their population histories."Our results," ,...

Jul 14
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